Garry KASPAROV. Moscow Attack: Don’t Believe the Kremlin

In a heavily surveilled city, how could ISIS terrorists have killed for nearly an hour and driven away?

Friday’s terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall concert venue near Moscow killed more than 100 people in a brutal crime against humanity. Many key facts are still unclear, and rest assured they will become only less clear as the Kremlin works to exploit the crisis domestically and abroad. Coming shortly after his latest sham election, the attack gave dictator Vladimir Putin a rallying cry one day after the Kremlin declared for the first time that Russia is in a “state of war” in Ukraine.

Paranoia is my birthright, as it is for anyone born in the Soviet Union. But the official Kremlin story line is already a shambles. In one of the most surveilled cities on earth, where you can be arrested in 30 seconds for whispering “no war”, the terrorists continued their attack for more than an hour and then simply drove away.

The FSB, Russia’s state security service, claims to have arrested four suspects near Ukraine, at one of the most fortified borders in the world. Or did the suspects actually drive to Russian ally Belarus, as that nation’s ambassador to Russia said? Considering the amount of materiel and preparation required to do so much damage to a venue the size of a small village, it’s odd that the terrorists would suddenly turn into bungling amateurs by carrying their Tajik passports and heading to a militarized border.

Every official statement from the Kremlin and its propagandists will be a lie, with a few half-truths tossed in. It’s a control reflex of the security state of which Mr. Putin is a product. As I often say, I believe in coincidences, but I also believe in the KGB.

Mr. Putin angrily dismissed warnings from the U.S. Embassy on March 7 and March 18 about a potential terror attack at a concert venue in Moscow. (How did the U.S. know? Was it sources in ISIS-K or, as I suspect, moles in the FSB?) Then, on March 22, Mr. Putin issued orders to conscript hundreds of thousands more Russians for his war of conquest against Ukraine.

Twenty-five years ago, when then-Prime Minister Putin needed a platform for his presidential campaign, a series of terrorist apartment bombings in Russia launched the Second Chechen War. I laid out the copious evidence that these were false-flag attacks, staged by the FSB, in my 2015 book, Winter Is Coming. It’s a deed so shocking that it is difficult to believe—until you realize what sort of man Mr. Putin is. He has no allergy to blood, Russian or any other kind, if spilling it furthers his goals.
Twenty-five years ago, Mr. Putin grabbed power by committing mass murder in Chechnya. Today, in hope of staying in power, Mr. Putin is committing mass murder in Ukraine.

The West’s weakness encourages Russian escalation. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan was just in Kyiv, but instead of helping Ukraine fight off the daily Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure by delivering weapons, he was apparently there to discourage Ukraine from doing the same to Russia. On Friday the Financial Times reported that the U.S. has pressured Ukraine not to attack Russian oil infrastructure for fear of raising global gas prices — which might harm President Biden’s re-election chances. Russian air power devastates Ukraine because America promised Ukraine F-16s but says it takes too long to train the pilots.

Last week Mr. Biden’s administration even vetoed a Group of Seven statement condemning Russia’s fake elections.
All this suggests Mr. Biden fears Russian defeat more than Russian victory. As I documented in August, this is the continuation of a betrayal of a democratic ally and of American security interests.
It’s a cowardly new world order. The White House is busy telling Ukraine where it can’t shoot and telling Israel where it can’t hunt terrorists. Instead of providing leadership to unite democratic allies against dictators, Mr. Biden’s administration puts limits on America’s allies to protect America’s enemies. You don’t have to wonder what Taiwan and China make of America’s descent into passivity.

Republican obstruction of aid to Ukraine is despicable, but Mr. Biden can’t use it to excuse his own politicking and inaction. America has the largest military arsenal known to man, but it rusts in warehouses while Ukrainians die. Harry Truman had to face down Stalin and said the buck stopped with him. Mr. Biden says the buck stops with Speaker Mike Johnson. Donald Trump threatens isolationism in speeches and social-media posts; Mr. Biden is making isolationism a reality by refusing to stand up to dictators or to his own domestic opposition.

Mr. Biden retreated from Afghanistan, and Russia invaded Ukraine. He retreated from Ukraine, and Hamas launched a war against Israel. Weakness invites aggression.

Mr. Putin believes he needs perpetual war to hold on to power. He is creating the conditions to radicalize the Russian population further and to fulfill his new mobilization orders. By summer, the new conscripts will be at Ukraine’s front lines. Ukraine can’t survive this year unless America’s leaders do what is right instead of what they think is politically expedient.

Like all dictators, Mr. Putin excels at creating distractions from his crimes. The Moscow attack will draw global attention away from his war on Ukraine, but it won’t distract him at all. Mourn for every innocent life lost in Moscow, but also act to save the next one in Ukraine.

If a suspected serial killer is at large, the first thing to do when there’s a murder is to check his alibi. Mr. Putin is under indictment for war crimes, and his bloody track record makes him suspect No. 1. There can be no common cause against terror with Russia when the world’s most accomplished terrorist rules the Kremlin.

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